Fernando Igrejas Caeiro

The radio programme Perfil de um Artista, of Francisco Igrejas Caeiro, with interviews lasting between 30 and 50 minutes, was aired weekly. Sometimes the duration would vary, due to cuts introduced by supervision (censorship). Francisco Igrejas Caeiro had a radio background, and a political one, since he had joined Emissora Nacional in 1940. He had been fired for signing opposition petitions calling for democracy in the country after the end of the Second World War (1948), and his professional life was cut short when he was banned from the travelling radio show Companheiros da Alegria, for having said in 1954 that Nehru was the world's greatest leader, at a time when Portugal had cut diplomatic relations with India.

In 1959, a request was made by the acting director of PIDE, Lieutenant-Colonel of Cavalry Homero de Oliveira Matos, who wanted to know who had spoken on Igrejas Caeiro's programme on Rádio Clube Português. The government inspector, Lieutenant-Colonel José Raposo Pessoa replied, after consulting the radio's commercial director, with an exhaustive list of the interviewees.

But who interviewed the broadcaster? People linked to culture (literature, theatre and the plastic arts), some political figures with less affection for the Estado Novo, some journalists. Of these, I would like to highlight the following: Friar Diogo Crespo (founder of the magazine Flama), Rolão Preto (former leader of the extreme right-wing movement of the Blue Shirts), journalist Artur Portela, Carolina Homem Cristo (daughter of the controversial journalist from Aveiro, Homem Cristo), Brazilian singer Ivon Curi (then very popular in Portugal), Francisco Relógio (artist linked to neo-realism), painter Nikias Skapinakis, writers Manuel da Fonseca, José Rodrigues Miguéis, Urbano Rodrigues, Alves Redol, Bernardo Santareno, Ilse Losa, Félix Bermudes (also president of Benfica, a club the radio broadcaster liked), historian Jaime Cortesão, José Augusto França, oppositionist lawyer Vasco da Gama Fernandes (later President of the Portuguese Parliament), Maria Della Costa (a Brazilian actress who had studied drama in Portugal and played at the Capitol Theatre at the time) and Gianfrancesco Guarnieri (an Italian-Brazilian actor who I was unable to ascertain if he acted at the same time). The interviews with people close to the regime were meant to show political equilibrium, but those in political power were not deluded by this position.

I can't find a direct reason for the PIDE's intervention, but, if you look at many of the names interviewed on the radio programme, you can see the regime's mistrust. In an interview, he would recall: “We did Perfil do Artista, a show that bothered a lot and ended up being banned. I have 300 interviews of Perfil do Artista: all were intellectuals in Portugal and Brazil or connected to the arts. This collection was a remarkable work not by me, but by the people who were interviewed, some of whom had their names almost banned. I think it was the first time that in-depth interviews were conducted".

Finally, I note the line of censorship in this case: commercial director of the radio station, government inspector at the station, SNI and political police. The RTP archive has, available online, several programmes of Perfil do Artista (search at https://arquivos.rtp.pt/conteudos/). Press clipping of the play Gimba in which Maria Della Costa acted: Diário de Lisboa, 21 October 1959.


Original text with images, at https://radio.hypotheses.org/4100.


Autor: Rogério Santos, 2021.


#fernandoigrejascaeiro #bibliografia

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